Two members of the public.
APOLOGIES FOR ABSENCE:
Councillors Bryan Corps, Simon Goddard, Tony Haines,
Gavin Hemming, David MacIsaac.
Borough Councillor Latif Khan.
Beat Officer Cerrig Shardlow.
78. INTRODUCTION OF NEW ASSISTANT CARETAKER
Prior to proceeding to the usual Council business, the Chairman introduced the new Assistant Caretaker, Jim Jenkin, and welcomed him to Wexham Court Parish Council.
79. DECLARATIONS OF INTEREST
Councillors Egan and Davies declared an interest in relation to Items 4 and 7 on the Agenda.
80. MINUTES OF THE MEETING HELD ON 13TH SEPTEMBER 2005
The Minutes of the Meeting of 13th September 2005 were approved as a correct record. The Clerk reported that, in relation to Item 64, a quotation had been obtained for installation of basketball markings and hoops on one of the Parish tennis courts, the cost of which would be £2,140. It was noted that the youths who had requested the basketball facilities had not turned up at the meeting to address the Council. It was therefore agreed that this matter would be put on hold pending further discussion at the next meeting in the event that the said youths were present.
81. MINUTES OF THE SPECIAL MEETING HELD ON 9TH OCTOBER 2005
The Clerk clarified for the benefit of the public that, further to recent allegations made against two Members and an Officer by two ex-Councillors, advice had since been obtained from BALC and the Council had subsequently approved the carrying out of an Investigative Report by Councillor David MacIsaac. A Special Meeting had been called for the purpose of approving the completed Report, which had concluded that the allegations were unsubstantiated. The accused Members and Officer had therefore been fully exonerated, and the Chairman and Chair of Finance had resumed their full roles with the Council.
During the course of the Special Meeting a Vote of Confidence in the three accused parties was proposed, which had been supported by all the Members present. Furthermore, this Vote of Confidence had since been endorsed by three of the four absent Members, the fourth of whom was currently abroad on holiday.
The Clerk expressed her thanks to Councillors Rajput and MacIsaac for taking the matter forward.
82. POLICE LIAISON
Beat Officer Cerrig Shardlow was currently away on holiday, but PC Jim Jenkin was invited to deputise and address the Council. PC Jenkin explained that his main role was as a Liaison Officer with local schools. He reported that a number of street robberies had recently been carried out by youths in the area, but that three youths had today been arrested in connection with these crimes.
The Chairman thanked PC Jenkin for this information, and praised PC Shardlow for his proactive approach. He reported that some vandalism had taken place at the Parish Hall recently, but there had since been no further problems.
83. PROPOSAL TO APPOINT YOUTH REPRESENTATIVES
It was proposed that two Youth Representatives from Wexham School be appointed to put forward the views of their piers and serve on the Parish Council. Councillors Dave Davies and Robert Aldridge would approach the Head of Wexham School to discuss the details, and would report back to Council. It was agreed that a focus group would need to be set up within the school to ensure the effectiveness of the representatives, and their attendance times would also need to be considered due to the late hours of some Council meetings.
84. SPONSORSHIP OF BOWLS CLUB SCOREBOARD & CHARITY CUP
The Chairman had received two letters from the Bowls Club requesting the support of the Parish Council. The first was in regard to renovation of the scoreboards, which are on display throughout the bowls season. The sum of £100 would sponsor a scoreboard for an unlimited duration, which could be inscribed with the Councilís name and logo thus providing a higher profile within the Community. It was agreed that this would be beneficial in respect of Public Relations, especially since the Bowls Club is a charitable concern. Following discussion of this item, the sponsorship of a scoreboard was approved.
The second letter was in regard to the sponsoring of a cup or trophy at the Annual Charity Event, which had been supported by the Parish Council by means of a donation for the past two years. It was agreed that this item would be raised again at the beginning of the next financial year, when the new Bowls season would also be commencing, since the Council had already made a donation this year. The Clerk would respond to the Bowls Club to confirm the above.
RESOLVED: That the sum of £100 be donated to the Bowls Club in respect of sponsorship of a Scoreboard, and that support of the Annual Charity Event be reviewed in April 2006.
85. REPLACEMENT OF PARISH HALL LETTERING AND SIGNS
The Clerk reported that the letters on the Parish Hall are being repeatedly vandalised due to their flimsy construction, and that this is incurring regular costs for replacements and repairs. Quotations had been obtained for one-off replacement of all the letters in white coated metal, which would be screwed directly to the wall to avoid damage by footballs, etc. The most favourable quote of £345 was offered by K&S Signs. They were also able to provide replacement signs for the tennis courts and Bowls Club, as previously discussed, for a sum of £40 each.
RESOLVED: That the quotations of £345 for replacement Parish Hall lettering, and £40 each for replacement tennis court and Bowls Club signs be accepted; arrangements to be made by the Clerk for the work to take place as soon as possible.
86. REVIEW OF PARISH HALL HIRE POLICY AND CONDITIONS
The Clerk and Chairman clarified that various problems had arisen with some outside hires in relation to the condition of the Hall following ad-hoc functions. One very bad hire that had recently taken place had resulted in the Caretaker giving notice of his resignation. Various options were discussed with a view to resolving such problems including a possible ban on all hirers outside the Parish, or an increase in the hourly hire rate or returnable deposit.
RESOLVED: That the returnable deposit for hirers from outside the Parish be increased from £300 to £600. There would be no change to the current rate for Parish residents.
87. INFORMATION REPORTS
Councillor Davies reported that he had recently attended the Annual NALC Conference and some very interesting information had been obtained. Some of the items would be raised with the F&GP Committee at their next meeting.
Councillor Davies had arranged delivery to the Parish Hall of 36 kerbstones which had been surplus to requirements on a local building project. He and the Chairman suggested that these could be used as bollards, or to raise the existing kerbing, in the Parish Hall grounds in order to prevent vehicles from parking on the grass verges. The normal cost of the kerbstones was £49.50 each, but the entire delivery had been obtained for £50. It was agreed that Councillor Davies should be reimbursed for this cost and the Chairman thanked him on behalf of the Council.
Councillor Robert Aldridge reported that he had recently seen Parking Wardens outside local schools, but that no positive action was being taken (i.e. the issuing of parking tickets) to prevent irresponsible drivers from subsequently re-offending. The Clerk was asked to contact Councillor MacIsaac to ask him to chase this up and ask for fines to be imposed. She would also contact PC Shardlow, since the police would be able to deal with any incidents that were considered to be a road traffic offence.
The Chairman reported that he had also attended the NALC Conference in Eastbourne and had brought back various information leaflets which had been made available for Members to view this evening. He had also obtained information regarding the additional powers that are being devolved to Parish Councils in regard to local issues such as dog fouling, litter, graffiti, etc. He reported that it may soon be possible for the Parish Council to consider employing our own Neighbourhood Warden to deal with these issues.
New street lighting was currently being installed in Norway Drive, including additional lighting in the alleyways to Almons Way and Bell Close that had previously been requested.
Slough Borough Council had put forward a proposal, at the request of two private residents, to install an access road on the green opposite the Parish Hall. They were currently carrying out a very limited consultation with the five residents in the immediate location. The Parish Council had objected to the proposal on behalf of some of these residents who did not want the access road, together with other local residents whose children or grandchildren use this green as a safe play area. The Chairman had written to SBC to complain about the proposal and the lack of appropriate consultation with the Parish as a whole. He would continue to raise objections on behalf of the Parish.
88. SUB-COMMITTEE UPDATES
The Autumn Newsletter had now been completed, copies of which were distributed to Members. The Clerk sought approval to arrange printing and distribution to all Parish residents and this was agreed.
89. FINANCIAL REPORT
The Finance Clerk submitted the Financial Statement for the 1st to 31st August and questions from Members were invited.
RESOLVED: That the Finance Statement for August 2005 be approved, and that authority be given for twenty-five cheques to be signed.
90. REPORT OF THE CLERK AND PLANNING MATTERS
The Clerk had previously circulated updates to Members regarding recent planning applications and various items were discussed. Objections were raised to applications at Orchard End and a planned conversion to flats at 212 Knolton Way.
Councillors Davies and MacIsaac, and the Clerk, had recently attended a meeting at Wexham Primary School regarding the proposed installation of a wind turbine in the school grounds. The Clerk had subsequently circulated a written Report, to which she added a small directional amendment regarding the specific position of the turbine. She invited comments or questions from Members and no objections were raised.
A letter had been received from a Transport Consultancy Agency advising the Council that an assessment of Hackney Carriage Ranks in the Slough area is being carried out. They had asked whether the Parish Council would like to bring any matters to their attention. The Clerk was asked to respond to the letter to enquire about the proposed location of any additional ranks, and to advise the agency that the placement of any taxi ranks in or around Wexham would be undesirable.
91. BOROUGH COUNCILLOR REPORTS
Councillor MacIsaac had asked the Clerk to report the following:
He had arranged for Pest Control to deal with a rat problem at a derelict house in The Cherries.
Enforcement action had been taken against a development in Knolton Way due to an unauthorised extension of their planning application, and others were currently being investigated.
He was continuing to lock the gates at The Cherries play area and this was helping to prevent youths gathering there at night.
He was supporting the Parish Council in their efforts to prevent the installation of the access road on the green open space in Norway Drive.
There was currently a CPA Inspection taking place at Slough Borough Council, the Report for which would be published in December. The purpose of the inspection was to determine how Council processes and policies are working and it would therefore be a test for the new Administration.
92. PUBLIC QUESTION TIME
A member of the public suggested that, with regard to the bad hirers of the Parish Hall discussed earlier, perhaps we could force them to take out an indemnity policy against damage occurring to the premises. Members thanked the resident for her suggestion, but it was agreed that this might be a complicated way of dealing with the matter. It was explained that, unfortunately, some hirers do not respect the Hall but that policies had been put in place in an attempt to avoid some of the serious issues.
The Meeting subsequently closed at 9:25 p.m.
Note: The usual pre-prepared Chairman's Report was not available for this meeting.
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